Tag archive for "carbon dioxide"

Future Earth

How long do greenhouse gases stay in the air?

No Comments 19 January 2012

It’s always been one of those questions for me. A little like ‘What does a tonne of CO2 look like?’ – something I looked into last autumn.

Well, the answer to this latest question is that the length of time these gases stay in the air differs from gas-to-gas. Continue Reading

On Writing

A Rush of Green: one year on

No Comments 15 December 2011

It’s been almost a year since A Rush of Green launched – and what a year it’s been!

When I pressed publish on my inaugural post back in December of last year, I had no idea how popular the blog would be and if anyone would be interested in my ramblings. Thankfully, it turns out that plenty of you are – and I am very grateful to you all. Continue Reading

carbon free

On Writing

How to become a carbon-free writer

1 Comment 30 September 2011

I was horrified to discover that writing the sequel to The Human Race had produced 13.62 tonnes of CO2 – and even more horrified after I found a way to visualise that number. Determined to reduce  my carbon emissions, I have drawn up the following plan of action:

1.       Following in the footsteps of Ray Anderson, I’m aiming to cut my business emissions to zero over the next ten years. I plan to do this while minimising the impact upon my lifestyle. This could be tricky. As you know I’m a committed – if reluctant – environmentalist, so I’m not even sure whether it is possible. You could argue, however, that I have already taken the first steps. Ten years ago I didn’t pay much attention to global warming. Ignorance was bliss! Nowadays, every activity I undertake carries some green guilt.

My lifestyle is important to me, as I’m sure yours is to you. I love to travel and will be loath to give it up. What’s more, I would like to become a bestselling author – an ambition which, I am sure, comes at a carbon cost. Even so, from now on I intend to pursue my pastimes and ambitions in an environmentally friendly manner. Ray Anderson did it: he grew his business to a $1 billion turnover, while cutting its carbon emissions by more than 60 per cent.

2.       I will offset the tonnes of CO2 that were generated while I wrote the sequel to The Human Race. In fact I have already done so, thanks to the website www.carbonfootprint.com. It cost me £190. Essentially I bought one tree per tonne of carbon emissions. I have requested they be planted locally in Yorkshire, my home region.

3.       And I’m not done yet! As my books continue to sell copies, I will continue to offset the carbon cost of their production. I spent a long time trying to come up with a scientific formula for doing this, but failed. There appears to be no accurate method of measurement (please tell me if I’m wrong).

For paperback copies, the closest I can find is The Wisconsin Paper Council’s reckoning that 128 cubic feet of wood produces 942lb of books. Then there are distribution costs. E-books are lighter, but they still cost carbon. E-readers all require charging, manufacture and eventually, disposal. Again, I could find no calculations – please contact me if you can.

In the meantime I am going with the following formula:  for every 100 paperbacks or 1000 e-books sold, I will offset my carbon emissions by planting one tree. I will place a counter on this site, so readers can monitor my progress.

So that’s my plan. I’m sure it could be better- but at least it’s a start.

My challenge to you: what are you waiting for? Begin offsetting.

At the very least, work out the carbon footprint for your home or business. If you are like me you may well be shocked, embarrassed – and inspired to do something about it.

This post was selected for Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #14, hosted by The Book Designer  and Lovely Words Vol. 39, hosted by Writing as a Sacred Art.

Future Earth

Do you know what one tonne of carbon dioxide looks like?

7 Comments 30 September 2011

Yesterday I calculated the carbon cost of writing the sequel to The Human Race. It came out at a shocking 11.91 tonnes of carbon dioxide. I fell to thinking about what I could do to reduce this.

My youngest daughter asked me what I was doing and, after I had explained it to her, she asked me what a tonne of carbon dioxide looks like. It was a great question – and one for which I had no immediate answer. All I could tell her was that CO2 is odourless and colourless – but this reply wasn’t particularly useful for a seven-year-old looking to visualise a tonne of gas.

So I did what I do best: research! Fifteen minutes later I had discovered this great image, which helped both of us enormously:

one tonne of carbon dioxide


This picture was taken by Dave Ames, a science teacher at Cohasset High School in Cohasset. Mr Ames built this large cube to represent the size of one metric tonne of carbon dioxide. The cube is 27 feet wide, 27 feet high and 27 feet deep.

As you can see, the cube towers over the people standing alongside it. For me, this picture was an eye-opener. As for my young daughter: she was amazed by its size. Then she became quite upset that our family is pumping 15 of these giant blocks into the atmosphere every year, just to heat and light our home.

I believe that such a picture is striking on its own, but that if you don’t know your own CO2 output, isn’t it essentially meaningless? I used a website called www.carbon-offsets.com to calculate the Heaton family’s output, and I recommend this website to others.

For me, knowing that I was personally responsible for 13.62 tonnes of CO2 over two years was bad enough. Now I was able to visualise that number, thanks to the image above, I was even more unhappy. I became all the more determined to do what I could to reduce my CO2 output.

Tomorrow I’ll list the steps that I am taking to make my writing carbon-free…

This post was selected for Everything Home End of October Edition, hosted by My DIY Home Tips.

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Reviews of The Human Race

Unputdownable. Yes, I know it's not a word, but it definitely applies here, anyway. That's the word I'm going with, to describe The Human Race by O.C. Heaton. - Hira N. Hasnain

An outstanding first novel from O.C. Heaton that catapults him into the Best Seller league… - Justine Bond

"This is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on part two!" - L. H. Bowers

"If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well." - David Bryson, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

For further reviews of The Human Race by O.C. Heaton click here.

Author Bio

Charles Heaton British thriller writer O.C. Heaton, author of The Human Race, is fascinated by the past, present and future of human evolution. (Image credit: Ross Parry Agency) Read More>>

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O.C. Heaton's post about Harold Haw was featured in the Guardian.

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O.C.'s bookshelf: read

The BeachThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLife of PiOuter DarkThe FirmAlexander 3: The Ends of the Earth: A Novel

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